Toddler Hypoglycemia: Spot The Signs

How to Spot Signs of Toddler Hypoglycemia

Until 10 months ago I had never even heard of Toddler Hypoglycemia! But now the events of last February are etched into my memory. Carrying Little G’s lifeless body into A&E will not be something I forget easily.

hypoglycemia

So what is Toddler Hypoglycemia?

You are probably aware of hypoglycemia, something that diabetics in particular suffer with if they do not take the correct dose of insulin. Blood sugars fall and it leaves you weak and at risk of falling unconscious. This is something they have to live with for their whole lives and is why they have to eat regularly and measure their sugar intake.

Thankfully Toddler Hypoglycemia is not a long term illness, if you can call it an illness at all. It is simply a phase, something they grow out of. Still it is something to be taken seriously as without proper care can result in terrible consequences. It is very similar to the ‘regular’ hypoglycemia in that sugar needs to be controlled and food needs to be consumed little and often.

How do I know if my toddler has it?

Does your child ever say they are tired?

Do they get hungry between meals? Always seem to be hungry?

Do they have mood swings/ tantrums that tie in with those ‘snack’ times?

Do they wake in the night with ‘terrors’?

If you answered yes to those, most crucially to the night waking question then your toddler probably has it. Night terrors/ wakings happen when the blood sugar drops past a certain point in the middle of the night- usually around 3am. They will often be drowsy, like they aren’t even awake at all. They can also be distressed.

What do I do?

Firstly, don’t panic – it can be controlled easily. Make an appointment to see your doctor and tell them of your concerns. Of course if you find yourself, as I did, with an unresponsive child then dial 999 immediately.

How can I help?

Snacks between meals and a snack before bed. The night time snack is most important as it gives them enough energy to see them through until breakfast (We give butter and toast at bedtime). The day time snacks just prevent those nasty mood swings and help keep their blood sugar balanced throughout the day. Obviously high sugar snacks are not a good idea, they will simply give a quick boost and result in a crash soon after.

Why does it happen and when will it end?

Toddlers are like little balls of energy aren’t they? They run about all day and their little bodies cannot store enough energy in one go to keep them bouncing around all day. If they go more than a couple of hours without food they run out of energy- just think how many feeds they used to have as a baby!!!

It will end when they are between 5 and 9, depending when it started. Usually they will out grow it after a couple of years. The night wakings stop and the terrible twos end- in line with them being able to store energy for longer!

 

**If ever you feel your child is drowsy or non-responsive then give them a sugary drink and ring 999.**

I am not a doctor, these are just views based on my experience as a mother of a child with Toddler Hypoglycemia.

 

Mums' Days
Mami 2 Five

 

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Louise
    January 9, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Your experience with Little G sounds truly terrifying and I am so glad that she was okay. I was aware of the dangers of hypoglycaemia in babies but had never thought about it with regards to toddlers. Good to raise awareness of it. I find Jessica definitely starts getting more irritable if she is hungry and snacks really help with this.

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

      I want to raise as much awareness as possible, so many parents could be faced with it and never actually know about it. People brush off various things as being ‘just a phase’ but if a slice of toast can help then why suffer sleepless nights?

  • Reply
    Jenna
    January 9, 2015 at 10:13 am

    What a terrifying thing to have to go through. This is a great post that I’m sure will help many.

    #TheList

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

      It was awful Jenna, if I can raise awareness then I will be happy to have helped! My cousin read my last post and it helped her little boy. x

  • Reply
    Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork
    January 9, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Thank you for this great post. I’m having such a ‘face-palm moment’ – my toddler has all the signs you listed and as someone who was hypoglycemic herself, I really should have made the connection sooner!

    I do struggle to get my toddler (almost two) to eat in the evening though. He’s often very tired after nursery and just wants his milk. He’d almost certainly accept a sugary snack, but that’s not really the idea, is it! I think I’ll have to get a bit creative…

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Could he be over tired and hungry? Maybe offer a snack on the way home from nursery? Otherwise maybe just cut the toast into funky shapes or something. Good luck! xx

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life
    January 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I had never even heard of this before . A great post highlighting this issue xx #TheList

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Not many people have, hopefully I can spread the word! x

  • Reply
    Hannah Mums' Days
    January 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Katy, this sounds a truly horrific experience – I’m so sorry you had to go through it 🙁 but thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I wonder if this is why Reuben is waking so much…I tend to feed him every 2 hours or so anyway as he’s a snacker and not keen on big meals. His waking is always around 2/3ish at the mo but could be later and he tends to literally run to our room, I pick him up and put him back in bed. So neither drowsy nor upset? Food for thought!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xxx

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      If it is always around that time – between 2 and 4 then I would definitely try toast at bedtime as something is causing his brain to tell him to wake up. Sometimes G isnt upset but just wide awake but toast always sets her up for the night and she sleeps right through. Let me know how you get on. xx

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    January 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    OMG Jack had all of those signs when he was a toddler , the night terrors were horrific. How weird is that?

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Oh if only you’d known! I don’t understand why parents aren’t told!

  • Reply
    Kat | Beau Twins
    January 9, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    So, I’m going to monitor more closely what I feed G as she displays some of these signs. Toast after bath before bed and her milk would that be ok? Also natural sugars what’s the latest I should allow her to have? Such an informative post, potential answer to a lot of parents problems. Thanks for sharing this lovely. Xxxx

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 9, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      I would say natural sugars at dinner are fine, so fruit for pudding etc.. Toast and milk would be perfect. I so hope it solves it for you xx

      • Reply
        Kat | Beau Twins
        January 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        They do eat LOADS of fruit!! Basically very healthy eaters. It’s my fault for giving them little bits of chocolate in the day – trying to get rid of the Christmas crap! I have now gone back to my usual with the girls! Chocolate never again! Thanks hun! xxxx

        • Reply
          Katy
          January 13, 2015 at 7:41 pm

          I hope they are sleeping better now hun xxx

  • Reply
    Vickie
    January 12, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you for sharing your story Katy!

    Having read through the signs I am pretty sure this is what has been making Bubs have such bad nights and rotten behaviour during the day. She wakes at 3am, shaking and incoherant and to us it was as if she was still half asleep. During the day she constantly says she’s hungry or tired and you know about the tantrums she’s been having.

    Since you commented on my Happy Days post I’ve worked out a routine of healthy snacks at regular intervals with a round of toast just before bed and so far *touches wood* it seems to be working!

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      I honestly have welled up at this Vickie. I am so so glad it has given you that lightbulb moment! I hope she continues to improve for you! xxxxx

  • Reply
    The List Week 19 - the to do list grows! Mums' Days
    January 16, 2015 at 5:31 am

    […] Katy Said’s post about Toddler Hypoglycemia was a real eye-opener. Particularly the section about night waking – since reading this […]

  • Reply
    Fiona @ Free Range Chick
    January 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Katy, I’m certain both of my sons get this. My elder is often too busy to be bothered with eating and then gets very hungry in between meals. They both seem to have nightmares. We give them lots of peanut butter, banana, wholemeal toast – basically healthy, low GI snacks, high in energy.

    A great post – really informative! Thanks x

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 24, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Yes low GI is the way forward, glad you have managed to realise the problem x

  • Reply
    Mrs H
    January 24, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    I had never heard of Toddler Hypoglycemia until I read this post. Thank you so much for all this information. Little Miss H was born with really low blood sugars so this is definitely something I will keep an eye on. Poor you having to take your gorgeous Little G into A&E for this. How scary. Thanks so much for linking up to #SundaysStars. I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to comment. Hygs Mrs H xxxx

    • Reply
      Katy
      January 25, 2015 at 10:33 am

      No worries my lovely. Always good to be informed but hopefully Miss H won’t have it xx

  • Reply
    Lauren
    March 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    We just experienced this last Monday morning. Our first and only child was 18 months. He woke up unlike himself, laid his head on my stomach and became unresponsive. 911 was called..
    finally blood sugar was checked, he’d dipped to 36. BUT…..OUR CHILD HAS A SEVERE AND CRITICAL CONGENTIAL HEART DEFECT….two open heart surgeries by the age of six months. I literally thought my child was dying in my arms and his heart was failing him. I certainly hope this is a phase and he’ll grow out of it. His pediatrician is worried about his liver or his body making too much insulin. If he has something more serious wrong more than toddler hypoglycemia, even diabetes…..I just don’t know…….we are following up with a pediatric endocrinologist first week of April but I am so scared. My poor baby just can’t catch a break

    • Reply
      Katy
      March 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      I am so sorry you have experienced this too- and mixed with the heart defect I cannot even imagine the worry. Hope everything works out at your appointment in April xx

  • Reply
    Ally Messed Up Mum
    March 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    It’s so good that we can share our negative experiences through blogging to help others be aware isn’t it? Obviously it would be better had you not had to endure this fear in the first place, but thanks for choosing to share with us. X

    • Reply
      Katy
      March 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      So many people have said that their children have the symptoms, so glad I decided to share! x

  • Reply
    Helen Tasker
    September 23, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I was sorry to read that you had such a traumatic time with your little one due toddler hypoglycaemia, I actually never knew anything about this and I’m so glad I read about it. My son has these symptoms nearly on a daily basis and I was actually wondering why he was waking up sweating and screaming in the night. Thank you so much for the post, I will definitely be keeping a close eye on him now

    • Reply
      Katy
      September 24, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Oh Helen I really hope a little snack before bed and feeding little and often through the day helps xx

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